tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 18, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
on our broadcast tonight, the romney tape. what he said at that private fund-raiser, and what he says he meant by it, including a fact check on the percentage of americans who don't pay income taxes. also, where the race for president stands as of tonight. kids and weight and a fascinating and troubling theory that an ingredient in plastics and cans could be a part of the problem. longshot. a victory for buckingham palace and the case of those topless photos of kate. and how long lenses can see so much from so far away. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
it was a room full of supporters and mitt romney thought what he told them would stay in the room. someone recorded it all, and the result could be a potential game changer in the presidential election. specifically the way romney talked about president obama's supporters, about americans who benefit from government programs. hispanics and the situation in the middle east. the way he talked about citizens who see themselves as victims, pay no income taxes. he went on to say his job is not to worry about those people. politicians speak differently when they think they're speaking in private, as all of us. as mitt romney did. today his remarks were called stupid and arrogant. that was from a fellow republican. romney stood by his words. while they weren't elegant, they were impactful. it's where we begin our reporting tonight with peter alexander, traveling with the
romney campaign in salt lake. peter, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. romney's only scheduled events today were fund-raisers. and here at a luncheon he made no reference to the controversy now surrounding his campaign. top advisers believe voters are more concerned about economic issues that affect their lives than they are about comments said at a private fund-raiser. this is the first campaign approved look inside a romney fund-raiser. earlier today here in salt lake city. it comes just one day after this secretly reported video first surfaced. taken at a private fund-raiser in may. on that tape, romney says 47% of americans pay no income tax. and paints them as independents who will vote for mr. obama no matter what. >> my job is not to convince those people.
>> it's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way, i was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. >> reporter: romney told reporters he believed in a two state solution. the israeli palestinian conflict. behind closed doors, questioned the palestinians interest in peace. >> you recognize this will remain unsolved -- >> reporter: before the video was leaked monday, romney's advisers promised a renewed campaign. hours after romney publicly spoke to latinos monday. >> i'm convince d the romney household is the home of latinos. >> had i been born of mexican parents, i would have a better shot of winning. my father was one of the americans living in mexico. they lived there for a number of years. i say that jokingly.
>> reporter: later added -- >> the president -- we're in trouble as a nation. >> reporter: romney's candid remarks ricochetted across the landscape. jim messina blasted the comments as shocking. joe biden was for once almost speechless. >> i'll let his words speak for themselves. >> reporter: bill kristol called the remarks arrogant and stupid. >> mitt romney is blowing this race. it is too much for many republicans to hand el. >> reporter: many conservatives rushed to romney's defense. one equalling this his getty's burg moment. urging romney to rise to the occasion and fight. romney didn't back down from the substance of his comments. instead in a televised
interview. he tried to turn the tables on the president, accusing him of running a government centered society. the person who leaked the video is former president jimmy carter's grandson who said he was angry that romney had attacked the former president. >> peter alexander, traveling with the romney campaign salt lake city, utah starting off our news tonight. romney's comments about 47% of americans pay no income tax. nbc's andrea mitchell has our reality check. >> reporter: it started a year ago as a conservative reaction to occupy wall street's battle cry that they were the 99%. conservative blogger erick erickson declared he was the 53%. taxpayers subsidizing people in his words so they can hang out on wall street and complain. others chimed in.
it quickly became a tea party mantra. >> only 53% of americans pay federal income tax. 47% of americans pay nothing. >> reporter: what are the facts? it's true that approximately 47% of americans do not pay federal income taxes. as mitt romney said. but not because they are living off of the 53%. >> in fact, about 60% of people who don't pay federal income taxes have jobs. and nearly half the rest are elderly, who are retired. they had jobs and they're now no longer working. these are hardly people sitting around living off the government gold. >> reporter: they say 44% who don't pay federal income taxes are elderly, retirees living on social security. another 30% get child tax credits and tax benefits favored by republicans. a smaller percentage are the very rich. benefiting from special tax breaks from investment income. responding to romney today, david brooks wrote, who are these freeloaders, is it the iraq war veteran who goes to the
va? is it a student getting a loan to go to college? most of the government spending are not big government lovers but republicans, senior citizens, mostly white men with high school degrees. >> reporter: in other words, they are romney supporters. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. and just tonight we got the first official reaction from the president to the words of mitt romney. here is a short bit of what president obama said in an appearance for tonight taped on david letterman. >> when i meet republicans, as i'm traveling around the country. they are hardworking family people who care deeply about this country. and my expectation is, if you want to be president, you have to work for everybody, not just for some. >> the president unveiling an outreach to republicans tonight on david letterman. and we are debuting new numbers this evening on this
presidential race. our nbc news political director chuck todd in our washington bureau with the results of our newest wave in the nbc news wall street journal pole just out tonight. chuck, good evening. >> good evening, brian. this is our first national poll after both national conventions, and both candidates had goals they wanted to accomplish. the president to try to make the case that the economy was on the right track, and he had the right policies. and mitt romney trying to improve his personal likability. on the head to head, the president has a five point lead. it's a small but significant lead. first time he's hit 50% in over six months. look at the perceptions of the economy. 42% say it's getting better. highest we've recorded on this poll question in two and a half years, brian. also has an impact on people's perception of which candidate would better deal with the economy. on this, president obama, mitt romney or tied. why is this significant? it's the first time mitt romney has not led on the question of
the economy since we began testing this. mitt romney, did he accomplish his goal of his convention? look at these likability numbers. he's still upside down. more people view him negatively than positively. 13 straight polls where mitt romney's personal rating has been upside down. there's a yellow flag for the president. on foreign policy, we conducted this poll right after the middle east crisis popped up, and you can see it's taken a toll on the president's approval rating. 49/46% approve/disapprove. one piece of silver lining for mitt romney. his supporters much more enthusiastic about this election than barack obama's. we'll see if that will have an impact. >> these numbers predated the recording of his remarks, it will be interesting to see the next wave of national numbers. chuck todd, thanks for that from our washington bureau. >> you're welcome. new and deadly retribution from that amateur internet film that's enraged much of the
muslim world. there were more anti-american protests today in kashmir, karachi. it was in afghanistan that today's lethal attack happened. richard engel is with u.s. marines in southern afghanistan tonight. >> reporter: near kabul's airport this morning, a car bomb smashed into a small bus killing afghan police say, at least 12 people. most of them south african contractors. according to the american embassy in kabul, many were providing services to u.s. aid and other organizations. a radical group claims the foreigners were targeted, revenge for an anti-islam video. the group identified the bomber as a young woman. it's not these overt attacks forcing the u.s. military to change policy. a growing trend of afghan security personnel turning their guns on nato troops. 20% of americans killed in
afghanistan in combat this year were shocked by their own allies. overnight, commanders said u.s. troops will no longer patrol with afghans. except on big missions with 800 nato troops or more, where there's safety in numbers. those major operations are rare. >> as soon as i come across. u.s. troops are here to fight with and train afghans until americans leave in 2014. >> it's been tough enough to train the afghans under the best of circumstances. now that we're not going to be training them at the small unit level, it's impossible to see how we're going to accomplish our mission. >> analysts warn a smooth drawdown from afghanistan is it looking increasingly unlikely. richard engel, nbc news, camp leatherneck, southern afghanistan. big story in this country tonight, now we go to chicago, where there is a deal this evening to end the teacher's strike that's stretched into its second week.
our chief education correspondent rehema ellis is outside the meeting place tonight. what can you tell us? >> i can tell you just moments ago after seven days on strike. delegates have met and they overwhelmingly reported 98% to 2 to suspend this walkout and go back to work in the nation's third largest school district. some of the major issues in this new contract now include a 7% salary increase over three years. 30% of teachers evaluation will be based on student's standardized test scores. principals retain hiring power. but half of all new hires must be laid off teachers. 800 teachers delegates voted this afternoon to overwhelmingly suspend the strike. now it will be voted on by the rank and file. some 30,000 members we're told in 2 to 3 weeks. we're told that is just a formality. essentially the strike has been suspended and teachers say they will be back in the classrooms
tomorrow. brian? >> rehema ellis with the breaking news tonight from chicago. rehema, thanks. same topic and early note for our viewers, for the third year in a row, nbc news is hosting our education nation summit here in new york city. it begins this coming sunday, you'll be able to see special programming across all nbc news platforms, and, of course, on the web. that's all next week. washington, d.c., was under a rare tornado warning earlier today. part of a huge weather system running all along the eastern seaboard as the front moves through, it's made a mess of air travel. it's dropping a ton of rain in a short time, in addition to some localized outbreaks of severe weather tonight. still ahead as we continue, news about a growing health problem for america's kids. could a common chemical in our daily environment turn out to be part of the problem? and later, how did a photographer get those controversial photos of a future
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and the analysis shows that unless something changes, every state in this nation will have an obesity rate above 44% in less than 20 years. our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman reports on what could be a contributing factor to all this. >> reporter: new research now underscores that a healthy diet and daily exercise may not be enough to avoid childhood obesity, an important factor that may contribute is also one of the most controversial chemicals found in the american diet, bpa is used to prevent corrosion in the lining of cans and bottles. it's found in items like soda cans, canned suits, fruits and vegetables and canned tuna. the fda recently banned bpa from sipty cups and baby bottles because of evidence that it disrupts hormonal cycles in children, but decided to await further testing before banning it in other products.
>> laboratory studies increasingly suggest that bpa can produce all the molecular hallmarks of obesity. it appears to make fat cells bigger and appears to disrupt the balance of estrogen and t s testosterone in our bodies, which is essential for caloric balance. >> reporter: it's almost like we're in the middle of a perfect storm, we have an abundance of cheap but not always nutritious food, not enough exercise in our schools, and, of course, we also have environmental factors now that we have to increasingly consider that is going to play a role for future generations. and brian, i know you heard me say this before. i'm more optimistic we're going to find the cures for some cancer before we unravel this one. >> this was an incredible story when it came out today. remembering the man who changed the way we all watch sports on television. [ mujahid ] there was a little bit of trepidation,
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he died after a fight with brain cancer. he was 69 years old. russell train has died. he was commonly known as the father of the epa. his story would be impossible today because in today's political environment he likely would have been eaten alive in washington. he was a lifelong republican who with the blessing of richard nixon and gerald ford, helped start the council on the environmental quality in the white house and then the environmental protection agency. he later helped turn the world wildlife fund into a worldwide force. final green light has been given for the removal of nearly 400 trees from the streets of l.a. to accommodate the movement of the retired space shuttle endeavour on local streets to a new home at a museum. they're cutting down the trees because cutting the wings off the shuttle and reattaching them is not an option. local protests have been
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for the british royal family. that french magazine that published the topless photos of kate middleton has to turn them over, and there's a criminal case coming against the magazine and the photographer. but, of course, the harm's been done to kate, her family and her privacy. tonight nbc's stephanie gosk shows us just how easy that can be. >> reporter: these days, more clothes are better than less if you're a member of the royal family. although, william doesn't look entirely comfortable in that grass stirt. as the prince and princess swayed their hips on a tiny polynesian island today. the unidentified female photographer behind those risque snaps faces a criminal trial. how did she do it? this morning on "today," photographer and former p paparazzi james ambler showed us
it's not that difficult. >> his subject is nbc's stephanie gosk, more than half a mile away. >> reporter: ambler used a 600 millimeter lens, something called a dub letter and a pretty fancy camera. even on a muggy, rainy day, this is what he could see. thankfully i was modestly dressed. >> if you do anything out in the public eye, you have to imagine there's a camera on you. that's the state we live in. >> reporter: royal private moments caught on the sly have always gone for a premium. paparazzi swarmed princess diana on vacation too. in 1994, she was also snapped shun bathing topless. even with the legal risk, it may be impossible to stop. >> i would guarantee my last dollar to any photographer in that situation, you always shoot and ask questions later. >> reporter: even for a prince and princess will one day wear the royal crown, privacy will